By: Praveen Kumar
February 10 2023
Adani Group's share price fell abruptly due to fraud allegations, which prompted demands for a JPC investigation. Wipro's share price fell gradually.
On January 24, 2023, Hindenburg Research, a company that does forensic financial research on what it sees as "man-made disasters" and engages in activist short-selling, published research findings accusing the Adani Group of stock price manipulations and fraudulent transactions over several decades. Though the Adani Group denied the allegations as "baseless" and threatened to sue Hindenburg, the company's shares plummeted the week after the Hindenburg report came out. Reuters reported that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is examining the $86 billion stock market decline and looking into the allegations made by Hindenburg.
According to The Hindu, the Indian parliament barely functioned on February 2 because the opposition sought investigations into the Adani Group through a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) or a Supreme Court-monitored panel. Amid this, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters and other right-wing ideologists have been tweeting in favour of the Adani Group. Rishi Bagree, a social media personality who claims to have a finance and investment background, tweeted on February 7, questioning the opposition's demands. He said Wipro saw a 45 percent drop in its share price "recently," and no JPC probe was demanded. He also tweeted that similarly, after Tesla's recent crash, the U.S. Congress did not demand a congressional probe.
However, while the three companies in question saw a steep fall in their share prices in recent months, they weren't under similar circumstances, and it does not make for a fair comparison.
Adani Group's share price on January 24, 2023, when the Hindenburg report was released, stood at ₹3,442, and after the allegations made, it started to fall and went as low as ₹1,572 on February 6, a drop of around 50 percent.
In his tweet, Bagree appears to be referring to the drop in Wipro's share price that happened at the end of 2022. Wipro's share price was at ₹715 at the end of 2021 and ₹392 by the end of 2022, a decrease of about 45 percent. According to the events highlighted by Google Finance in its graphs, Tesla's share price fell in the last three quarters of 2022 by roughly 45 percent - from about $292 in May to close to $123 by the end of December.
Unlike in the case of the Adani Group, Tesla's share price drop was not caused by any fraud allegations or illegal activities. In January 2023, Forbes listed the major reasons for Tesla's share price fall. Some of them were the tumultuous U.S. economy, CEO Elon Musk shifting his focus after his Twitter takeover, the news of reduced production at the electric vehicle company's Shanghai plant, potential falling consumer demand, many investors responding to it by selling off their shares, and delayed production of already announced models.
Similarly, Business Today reported in December 2022 that Wipro's acquisition of consultancy companies Capco and Rizing, which reduced its gross margins, low expectations from them due to geopolitical tensions, and weak performance expectations were the major reasons for its share price fall. Wipro reportedly earns around 90 percent of its revenues from America and Europe. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has led to a global energy crisis and affected business activities worldwide, including in the U.S. and Europe.
The opposition's demands for a JPC probe into the Adani issue are based on concerns about the high exposure of public financial institutions - the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and the State Bank of India (SBI) - to the Adani Group and the impact on them following the Hindenburg report. The Opposition alleged that the tumult with Adani Group's shares was a "scam" that involved the common people's money. India Today reported on February 6 that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, responding to the opposition's criticism, said SBI and LIC are making their own decisions, "which are conscious and board-driven."
Bagree's claims include unfair comparisons between the fall of Adani Group, Wipro, and Tesla's share prices. While Wipro and Tesla's share prices fell over a year without any unusual factors affecting them, Adani Group's share price dropped to half in just two weeks due to allegations of fraud and other illegal activities. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.